Military biofuels returns to the spotlight as DoD releases phase one of its program to source sub-$4 advanced, drop-in biofuels.
In today’s special report, reaction around the globe and a special close-up look at the Fulcrum BioEnergy project.
As reported in the Digest on Monday, the DoD will award three contracts totaling $16 million to Emerald Biofuels, Natures BioReserve and Fulcrum Biofuels for drop-in military biofuels.
In today’s Special Report, we take a close up look at the Fulcrum project in the Digest Interview, here.
And, news that Fulcrum has successfully demonstrated its jet fuel and diesel technology, here.
Under the grants, the companies will develop plans for biorefineries supply aviation and marine diesel biofuels at less than $4 per gallon. The grants will be matched by $17 million in investments by the companies, which have proposed making biofuels primarily from oil seed crops and waste residues.
The overall Defense Production Act Title II program is divided into two phases: this phase, for plan development. A second phase, which would be funded out of FY 2013 and later year funds, would award up to $180 million in additional contracts to accelerate the construction of at least one biorefinery capable of providing the US military with sufficient sub-$4 renewable fuels to meet its Great Green Fleet plans.
Reaction around the world
A coalition of Advanced Biofuels Association, the Air Line Pilots Association, Airlines for America, the American Council on Renewable Energy, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Security Project, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the National Farmers Union and Operation Free was swift to applaud the DoD:
“Adopting advanced “drop-in” biofuels will help the DoD and the nation achieve its broader national security goals,” the groups said. “As the largest institutional consumer of liquid fuels in the world, the U.S. military is incredibly susceptible to the volatile global oil market. The DoD estimates that every 25 cent increase in the price of a gallon of petroleum-based fuel costs the military $1 billion in additional fuel costs. It is increasingly important to find domestically produced alternatives to improve the country’s energy security, meet global energy demands, and provide jobs, while strengthening our military and domestic economy.
“The DoD’s partnership with private industry is a critical step towards achieving these goals. Already, private companies have made substantial investments in research and development to ensure access to these advanced biofuels. The U.S. Navy proved biofuels’ efficacy as a fuel with its successful debut of the “Great Green Fleet,” the first aircraft carrier strike group to be powered by 50-50 mixtures of biofuels and petroleum-based fuel. And the Air Force continues to certify its aircraft to operate on a variety of 50-50 biofuel blends, with a goal of sourcing up to 50% of its domestic aviation fuel requirements from alternative fuels by 2016.
Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association, added:
“The Advanced Biofuels Association applauds the Pentagon’s announcement of the first grant recipients under the Defense Production Act. This is a significant step in supporting our industries’ efforts to build commercial drop in fuels facilities. Biofuels offer outstanding performance and environmental sustainability, while also providing a diversity of fuels that increases security for the men and women serving in our armed forces. The vision of the military once again leads the world in the evolution of fuels, and is one that should be supported and admired by all.”